There’s nothing that tastes so delicious together than wine and cheese, if you’re hosting a special celebration, organizing a big party, putting a menu together for a festive dinner, or simply having a romantic meal for two, it wouldn’t be complete without a fine vintage wine and a rich cheese platter.
Why do cheese and wine go so well together? It’s due to the strong flavour of the cheese, it makes your palate more sensitive so you can detect all the wonderful elements in the wine. The difficult part is knowing what wines go well with certain cheeses as, due to the heightened taste sensation, if you get it wrong it can bring out unwanted flavours that won’t go down well.
Saying that, it’s not necessary to train as a sommelier to know how to put cheese and wine together in a perfect taste combination. You just need to understand the basics and love cheese of course, and you’re ready to go.
The general rule is that the sharper the cheese you’re serving, the heavier the wine should be. Young, simple wines with a nice acidity will balance lighter cheeses, while the heavier and sparkling wines are enjoyable with aged cheeses.
Be A Pairing Pro
Here are a few suggested pairings to make you look like a ‘pairing pro’.
Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is an aromatic wine with hints of grapefruit and tropical fruit and goes very well with the creamy, tart, and deliciously buttery texture of Goat’s Cheese. Feta and the salty flavours of halloumi also pair well with this crisp wine.
Australian Shiraz is full of flavours and aromas which makes it perfect for pairing with rich, aged cheeses. Choose a crumbly, mature cheddar to suit the dramatic boldness of this wine.
A full-bodied red wine, Cabernet offers deliciously dark fruity flavours and is best paired with strong cheeses. Try it with a hard cheese with a sharp taste and lots of character, like Gruyère, or a crumbly, red Cheshire.
Pinot Noir is a complex, light-bodied wine with red fruit, flower, and spice aromas, pair it with a rich, soft cheese like Camembert when it’s warmed to room temperature, slightly runny and full of flavour.
A unique blend of rich texture and high acidity, the fruity flavours of Chardonnay wine offer the perfect contrast to the buttery, salty taste of creamy cheeses, like a French Brie, as they add acidity without taking away flavour.
Match gorgonzola and other blue cheeses with an off-dry Riesling, as the subtle sweetness of this aromatic, deliciously refreshing wine with its strong floral aromas perfectly offsets the gloriously stinky cheese.
Pinot Grigio is an adaptable white wine which pairs well with lots of different types of cheeses, try it with mozzarella or goat’s cheese.
A Moscato wine is lightly fizzy with delicious aromas of sweet peaches and orange blossom that go wonderfully with blue cheese, or a Stilton. The sweetness of this white wine is what’s required to balance this bold mouldy cheese.
Fruity & Sparkly
For a fruity Rosé from a warm-climate region, classically made from Shiraz or Grenache grapes, a semi-soft cheese like Havarti is the perfect pairing. If it’s a dry Rosé, then the wine’s crisp acidity pairs very well with a nutty Goat’s cheese.
The sparkly stuff, Champagne, Cava and Prosecco, goes really well with most cheeses, as its carbonation helps cleanse the palate. The crispness and bubbles bring out the best in lighter cheeses whilst aged cheeses with nutty shades and robust blue cheeses also taste so good when there are bubbles around.